Virginia Tech Basketball Can’t Hold On At No. 23 Miami

The Hokies and Sean Pedulla couldn’t hold on at Miami on Tuesday night. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

In a game it shot 57% from the floor, Virginia Tech couldn’t hold on down the stretch at No. 23 Miami in its 92-83 loss in Coral Gables on Tuesday night.

The Hokies (13-9, 3-8 ACC) and Hurricanes (17-5, 8-4 ACC) traded baskets with not much defense played. But with eight minutes remaining, Miami started to get comfortable. Nijel Pack came alive, nailing three 3-pointers in a row. And after Grant Basile made a three with 4:55 left that led to a  short 5-0 Tech run, the team went cold. Instead, it was the Canes who heated up.

Pack, who was absent in the first half, scored all 17 of his points in a six-minute span after intermission. And with the game tied at 76 with 4:16 to play, his 8-0 solo run helped Miami pull away.

Over the final four minutes, the Hokies missed their last seven shots while the Canes rode out the win. It’s the best shooting performance in a loss for Virginia Tech since the team shot 58% and fell by seven at then-No. 8 Kentucky in Rupp Arena in Dec. 2017.

It was an electric first half with both teams above 60% from the field. Miami led 45-44 at the break while Isaiah Wong’s 16 points paced all scorers. He had an explosive first half, as did Sean Pedulla, who scored 13 points. Tech shot 63%, including 4-of-7 (57%) from behind the arc.

MJ Collins and the Hokies scored the ball at a high clip, but it wasn’t enough in the end. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

In the second half, Tech keyed in on Wong, and it showed. Hounded by Hunter Cattoor, he scored just two more points, finishing with 18. Instead, it was Pack and Norchad Omier (game-high 21 points) who carried the Hurricanes. The duo scored 30 of Miami’s 47 in the second half.

The game stayed close because both teams couldn’t seem to miss. But it eventually caught up to the Hokies on the road against a top-25 opponent with the No. 11 offense in the country. Cattoor and Pedulla each dropped 20 while Basile contributed 17. Justyn Mutts got into the game in the second half, too, finishing with 10 points. All-in-all, it was a solid shooting performance.

But Virginia Tech couldn’t buy a basket when needed. After hitting 12 of its 17 field goals (71%) in the first 15 minutes of the second half and pushing the lead to five, it seemed as if Miami would fade away. But the Hokies went ice cold all of a sudden, scoring their last nine points from the free throw line.

Turnovers didn’t help. Tech gave the ball away 14 times, which Miami turned into 24 points. However, the Canes only committed 11 mistakes. And they crashed the boards, too. Though the rebounding margin was 27-21 in Miami’s favor, Jim Larrañaga’s club outscored the Hokies 11-2 on second chance points.

It was a disappointing result for Tech, who played well for 35 minutes and could’ve used a Quadrant 1 victory. Another awaits on Saturday when No. 6 Virginia (17-3, 9-2 ACC) ventures to Blacksburg on Saturday (12 p.m. ET, ESPN2). The Cavaliers have won seven games in a row, including a 78-68 game against the Hokies in mid-January.

Box Score: Link 

30 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Tough loss to a Miami team that was shooting too well. As with similar losses, we seemed to lose control at crunch time. We have a tendency to speed-up late in close games that we control which causes turnovers and poor shot decisions, rather than setting up shots that we are more comfortable with. A timeout now and then might allow them to focus better.

    Enjoyed the Miami fan being tossed in the first half.

    1. I wish that there had been a way to toss that announcing duo from ESPNU – they got pretty obnoxious (and biased, IMHO) toward the U, especially toward the end of the game when Pack was on fire.

      1. If Hunter had hit that many 3s in a row they would have done the same thing. Announcers like to add excitement, when they can, to their game calls.

  2. CMY said in the pre-game interview VT could not win a game in the 80’s (much less 90’s) and he was correct. Too many turnovers (some of them really poor), not enough rebounds, and inconsistent defense. Miami is a good team (especially at home), but the was a game the Hokies really needed to win. On to the Wahoos, looks like VT will need to win the ACCT again this year to make the Big Dance.

      1. A bit optimistic, I think.

        So 20-11, then losing first round ACCT and we are still in?

        1. Ordinarily, I would agree with you. 20-11 with a 1st round loss would not be enough. But, surprisingly, we are still 55 in the net and ranked 6th highest in the ACC. If we finished 7-3 and 20-12, I think we might still get in. It would be close and that is the minimum for sure. My concern is that I don’t see how we finish 7-3. The schedule is favorable but we have road games and we have yet to win an ACC game on the road even since the return of Hunter.

  3. It seems we are really bad at holding on to leads, especially small leads in the last 4 to 5 minutes. Just a very disappointing year for basketball. Don’t see this team winning more than 2 or 3 more games. Well, they play hard so you can say that. Hope the baseball and softball teams play up to the expectations.

    1. The starters on both MBB and WBB teams play too many minutes – that is why both teams seem to “fade” late in games.

    2. You looked at our schedule and thought we’d only win 2-3 more games??? Literally one week after beating Duke and blowing out Cuse? We just lost to a team that’s 12-0 at home and top 11 in the country in offensive efficiency. And we led with 8:00 left

    3. I’m not ready to give up on this team, nor give up on their ability to make the NCAA Tourney without winning the ACCT.

  4. To be fair, 14 turnovers compared to “only” 11 is NOT a large disparity.

    What I’d like to see mentioned in the article is how many points did VT convert from Miami turnovers.

    1. I believe it was Cattoor on Pack and Collins/Pedulla on Wong. Then Cattoor switched to Wong and Pedulla, I believe, picked up Pack. Could be wrong. Bud you can’t have Cattoor guard two guys.

      1. Well, the only criticism I’d have for CMY, why not switch HC to Pack when it became apparent he was going to blister the nets?

        1. He scored 17 points in 6 minutes out of nowhere, it happened too quick to adjust if you were watching the game

          1. Disagree they it happened to quick to adjust. However, CMY tends to never call timeouts when the opponent makes a run, which did make it difficult to adjust on the fly. There was a TV timeout in the middle there as well I believe.

            Pedulla can take a game over on offense but has been shown to be a liability at times on defense over the past week.

  5. It was a great game to watch, with a disappointing end. No answer for Pack and his shot in the second half.

      1. That is what $800,000 plus a car will get you.>>>>
        Those are bench warmers at the U. Those two guys (Pack and Wong) are at $1.5 million level.

        In any case – it was a great game to watch. One of the few recently that officiating didn’t play in the outcome.

        I’m amazed at how many teams have so many players who can light it up from three-point land. Plus – there have been so many BIG upsets – like OU blowing out #2 Bama. etc..

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